According to a recent study, patients with recurrent lung cancer have better post-surgery survival rates if their management includes a follow-up program based on computer tomography (CT) of the chest. A Medical Xpress news report indicates the study is the first to show improved overall survival after surgery for a CT- based follow-up program and could change the way patients are currently managed. Researchers assessed 391 patients who had surgery after a lung cancer diagnosis between 2008 and 2013.

After introducing a CT-based follow-up in July 2010, all patients received a scan every third month for 2 years and then every 6 months for 3 years. Researchers recorded whether the patients were alive and lung cancer free in May 2015. The results of the research study showed that the number of patients alive 4 years after surgery increased from 54% to approximately 68%.

Also, for patients experiencing a relapse during the first 24 months after surgery, the chance of being alive 4 years after the first treatment increased from 2% to an estimated 27%, according to Medical Xpress.

“Our results show a significant improvement for survival rates for patients post-surgery in a CT follow-up programme currently running in Denmark. A key strength of our study is the real-life setting we used, where we were able to demonstrate successful results in a representative sample of lung cancer patients from Denmark,” says Niels-Christian Hansen, MD, presenting author of the study. “This is very encouraging news and we believe that our results could contribute to the planning of similar treatment programs in other centers and countries.”

The authors of the study plan to repeat the same kind of analysis for the group of lung cancer patients treated by radiation to see if the results are also successful for this group of patients.

Sources: Medical Xpress, European Lung Foundation